Lately izakaya is trending outside of Japan. But back home there is a wide range of themed izakaya from the popular robot restaurant and Awa odori to outstandingly unique ones like ancient civil war and fishing. Here are 10 popular spots in Shinjuku:
1. Sengoku Buyuden Shinjuku (戦国武勇伝 新宿)
This venue features Japanese civil war era (Sengoku Jidai). You will have a memorable experience as if you have time warped and stepped into an ancient battlefield. The food served are also from the era, such as Seiro Mushi「せいろ蒸し」and Seiro Meshi「蒸篭飯」, dishes steamed in bamboo baskets.
2. Showa Izakaya Hakuri Tabai Hanbei (昭和居酒屋 薄利多賣半兵ヱ)
This is a branch of chain izakaya and the restaurant has a retro ambience of Showa era. Price setting is also on the cheap, Showa standard. A yakitori skewer costs only 50 yen. Various popular Japanese dishes are served, such as Otafuku Sauce flavored yakisoba noodle (おたふくソース焼そば).
3. Fishing Restaurant Zauo Shinjuku (釣船茶屋 ざうお 新宿店)
You can have a fishing experience at this restaurant and have your catch cooked anyway you like – grilled, sashimi, you name it. Even you weren’t lucky to fish your dinner, don’t dismay, you can still dine here. It also runs sushi workshops for children.
4. Shinjuku Omoide Yokocho Torobako (新宿思い出横丁 トロ函)
Omoide Yokocho「思い出横丁」has become an increasingly well liked touring spot among foreign travellers in recent years. Torobako is one of the popular eateries on this little alley. Here you can grill your own seafood with an individual charcoal stove. What’s more, this place is value for money.
5. Teuchi Soba Daian (手打そば大庵)
Daian is a soba restaurant but you can also enjoy good sake and sides in the evening. Charcoal grilled free range chicken (地鶏) and Dashimaki Tamago(出汁巻き玉子), an egg roll with fresh eggs and dashi stock are some of the few signature dishes using seasonal ingredients. Good range of wine, sake, and shochu selected by the in-house Sommelier are on deck too.
6. Takamaru Sengyoten 3-goten (タカマル鮮魚店 3号館)
This is the third branch of Takamaru Sengyoten. This eatery is renowned for thick sliced sashimi. Because it’s run by a fishmonger, it serves fresh seafood at a fair and reasonable price. You can therefore eat your favorite seafood like fatty tuna, sea urchin, and salmon roe to your heart content without breaking your wallet.
7. Uobei Shinjuku (魚米 新宿店）
Uobei trades directly with fishermen without a middleman, meaning it obtains highly fresh seafood a day before they reach Tsukiji Fish Market. You can eat them at their best, be it sashimi, grilled or stewed.
8. Robata Sho (ろばた 翔)
The appetizer served at Robata Sho is a generous portion of 5 assorted sashimi. You can savor grilled seasonal fish and vegetables as well as acqua pazza 「アクアパッツア(イタリアの漁師煮)」using an entire fish, a lovely Italian dish of poached white fish in a broth of flavorsome herbs. Its potato salad「ポテトサラダ」is the No.1 favorite of regular customers.
9. Motu Nikomi Senmonten Numata (もつ煮込み専門店 沼田)
Motu Nikomi「もつ煮込み」is a dish of stewed giblets. It is a popular dish at izakaya and yakitori restaurants. Numata is a specialist of motu nikomi. If the idea of cooked giblets is not appealing, try some curry flavored motu nikomi with French baguette- you will feel as if you were indulging in a posh French cuisine.
10. Saimon (犀門)
Wooden interior and tranquil lights provide a relaxing atmosphere to this place. Together with popular Japanese dishes, Saimon serves tasty Chinese food like boiled shrimp dumplings「エビ水餃子」, fried chicken 「油林鶏」and fried rice「チャーハン」. It appeals to those who want to try a little bit of both cuisines.
There are various themed izakaya restaurants where you can have memorable dining experience, so next time you are planning a night out in Shinjuku, why not pay a visit to any of these venues?